“Flakka” Use Surging in Florida

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Law enforcement officials in Florida say use of the synthetic drug known as “flakka” is surging there, ABC News reports.

The drug, also called gravel, is available for $5 a vial or less, the article notes. Officials say people are ordering small quantities of flakka through the mail. Its main ingredient is a chemical compound called alpha-PVP.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), alpha-PVP is chemically similar to other drugs known as “bath salts,” and takes the form of a white or pink crystal that can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device.

Vaporizing, which sends the drug very quickly into the bloodstream, may make it particularly easy to overdose, NIDA notes. Alpha-PVP can cause a condition called “excited delirium” that involves extreme stimulation, paranoia, and hallucinations that can lead to violent aggression and self-injury. “The drug has been linked to deaths by suicide as well as heart attack. It can also dangerously raise body temperature and lead to kidney damage or kidney failure,” NIDA explains on its website.

The laboratory of the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale reports 275 flakka submissions already in the first three months of 2015, compared with fewer than 200 in all of last year.

Flakka makers are continually changing the chemical makeup of the drug, and often mix it with other substances such as crack cocaine or heroin, according to Don Maines, a drug treatment counselor with the Broward Sheriff’s Office. In as little as three days of use, a person’s behavior can undergo striking changes, he said.

“It actually starts to rewire the brain chemistry. They have no control over their thoughts. They can’t control their actions,” Maines said. “It seems to be universal that they think someone is chasing them. It’s just a dangerous, dangerous drug.”

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    Al

    May 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM

    Like I always say, you gotta ask why people are so intent on seeking an altered state of consciousness that they would do such things. Figure that out, and you’ll figure it all out.

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    John Not-Tellin

    May 7, 2015 at 4:23 AM

    Method should have been meth of course. Oh, and by the way, thanks for being anti drug for the kids. You guys are doing good work, but again, think with your mind instead of with your wallet a bit more often. Y’all are falling into the trap set by the media.

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    John Not-Tellin

    May 7, 2015 at 4:19 AM

    Hey, I wonder if news reporters have ever thought that news about new drugs is like free advertising for the drug community? Hello? People don’t use drugs because they’re safe. They use them to change their behavior, perception of reality, and their other druggy friends’ behavior towards them. I know because I lived the lifestyle. I’m all about freedom of the press, but learn the potential consequences before publishing. This is actually the prime reason for skyrocketing interest. You make it so a drug goes from just a local issue to half the druggy planet is asking about and trying to figure out how its made. Think about it. The first real news story about this drug hit in the end of 14 to the very beginning of 15. And what has happened to the use? Its literally gone up exponentially. Same happened around ten years ago with spice, but that took a couple years to really catch hold(again, I know. I was back in Florida when it first hit the St. Pete Times, and because of that article, me and everyone I knew, as well as all of their friends, started asking about it). It also happened with method back when I was too young to use, but boy has it replaced moonshine production in the rural areas since it got big media coverage. Do law enforcement a favor. Quit keeping them so busy and putting them in the line of fire on their jobs. Its a drug. Drugs don’t usually really jump mainstream until mainstream media hits them. Especially these obscure chemicals. When there’s five thousand using, then publish. Then it has become an epidemic. When there’s a thousand, do some research and see how fast it has spread in the past, then weigh the pros and cons of reporting it(ie: is this already spreading like wildfire, or is it still in a more localized area?), and keep your minds a little less aimed at the ratings? By the way, I’m going to go search this story at every major news station and repost this comment. I sure hope whoever runs this source thinks about our human species, instead of a need to get more viewers, Facebook likes, advertiser traffic, etc. Use discretion when exercising your right to free speech, and see if it will become yet another form of terminal population control, or if it is something that really will help.

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